Content warning: This post contains images of a deceased baby, and may be triggering for some readers.
Each and every day, I find myself reflecting on how bittersweet my life is.
I have two beautiful children, a wonderful, loving husband, a supportive family, cherished friends, a job that I love, and a nice home. However, despite all the things I do have, there is one thing I don’t have, that I long for every day.
I am one of those women who loves being pregnant. I have relatively easy (insofar as much as the words easy and pregnancy go hand in hand!), uncomplicated and somewhat uneventful pregnancies. I have always enjoyed seeing the grainy, black and white images of the tiny humans created by my husband and me. For me, little compares to catching those first glimpses of your unborn baby.
When my husband Matt and I went for my 20 week ultrasound for our third baby, it never entered either of our minds that something would be wrong. I had this whole pregnancy thing down pat, the 20 week ultrasound was, for me, simply another photoshoot for my baby.
Looking back now, that ultrasound took a long time. The sonographer left the room to consult with the doctor (surprisingly I was still blissfully unaware that anything was wrong) and Matt took this opportunity to duck to the toilet. The doctor entered the room, took possession of the transductor and proceeded to tell me we had “another bump in the road” – I had previously opted for a blood screening after my 12 week ultrasound revealed I had a relatively high chance of my baby being born with chromosomal abnormalities (to our relief the blood test results were negative).
As we sat side-by-side in the doctor’s office, we discovered the “bump in the road” was no bump at all, but a complete demolition of the road, and of life as we knew it. To the right of me I heard an animalistic cry of pain. Shocked and in confusion, I turned to see what it was. It was my husband. It wasn’t until I glanced over at him and saw him sobbing, that I fully comprehended the situation.
The words “not compatible with life” will forever remain etched in my mind as the most devastating words ever spoken to me. My precious daughter, Olivia, would not survive out of utero.
Olivia was diagnosed with bilateral muliticystic kidney dysplasia (MCDK). MCDK is a common condition in which one kidney doesn’t form correctly during utero.
The affected kidney is covered in cysts, but fortunately the remaining unaffected kidney is usually able to take over all kidney function. In Olivia’s case, both her kidneys were affected. The kidneys are responsible for the production of amniotic fluid, which in turn supports foetal lung development.